Seattle lawmakers approve new Airbnb tax

The Seattle City Council approved a new tax on short-term rentals Monday, taking the first step toward regulating hosts who rent out their properties using sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

The amended legislation will tax short-term rental operators who rent out entire units $14 per night and hosts who only rent out part of their homes — such as a spare bedroom — $8 per night. That’s a slight change from the $10 per night flat tax that was initially proposed in September. Councilmember Mike O’Brien said he expects the tax to bring in approximately $7 million annually but that number could fluctuate as other details are hammered out.

The tax is part of a set of regulations designed to prevent property owners from operating Airbnbs and other short-term rentals as if they were hotels — part of a broader effort to ensure an adequate supply of long-term rental stock for the city’s permanent residents. The Council voted Monday to separate the tax from the other regulations in order to pass it more expeditiously.

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